The impetus to create a petition was really a process of thought, procedure and good fortune. I was talking with a good friend of mine who is an elected member of the NC House. We were talking about the legislative process and I mentioned to him the concept of the Conscientious Objector. If you look up the definition, although the concept is only related to military service, the objection to serve can be based on a religious OR MORAL objection.
Only a few days later, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his concert in North Carolina citing a moral objection to a newly passed law called HB2. It was clear to me that Springsteen was refusing to serve the people of North Carolina based on a deeply held moral belief (Conscientious Objector), and the idea and language of the petition was born. The language was first posted as a simple Facebook comment on April 9th., 2016 that said “So, Bruce Springsteen is refusing to do business with people based on his personal beliefs. Yet, he doesn’t want other business people to have that same right? Oh…ok. lol. “ Nineteen people liked the comment and two people shared. But, I knew I was on to something and felt sure this idea would take root if I could get it out there. So, I created a photo meme of Springsteen with the following caption “Due to my closely held beliefs, I refuse to do business with the people of North Carolina, But I want the government to fine you if you do the same” and posted it on Facebook 20 minutes later.
The idea had still not gotten out and taken hold like I thought it could. The next day I was looking at Facebook and I saw a petition asking for support to repeal the HB2 law. It reminded of how quickly a petition for UNCW to cancel class so students could watch the NCAA tournament game against Duke took off, and had over 3,000 signatures in one day. I already had an account established at Change.org, so I created the petition with the intent to craft it in a way that supported Springsteen in his right to refuse service. The rest is history. That concept has now become a clear and concise argument that all Americans have a right to their closely held beliefs in the face of government coercion.
So now, let’s discuss the concept and why it is so crucial to the freedom of Americans.
All religions have a moral foundation, but not all moral foundations are rooted in religion. Every human being operates their life based on some moral foundation. They support or oppose a myriad of actions based on that moral foundation. But our society has focused solely on the moral foundation rooted in a religion, mostly being Christianity. The mantra has become “Separation of Church and State”, and any action taken that may be related to Christianity is vilified as stepping over that imaginary line. The consequence has been that moral foundations that AREN’T rooted in religion are allowed to be freely expressed and put in action, but those moral beliefs rooted in religion are objected to and therefore removed from the arena of ideas.
So, there is currently an advantage in American society given to those who express their deeply held moral beliefs outside the confines of religion. This was NEVER the intent of the Constitution, and in fact goes against the intent and words of the Constitution. Here is the full context:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
That’s it. Yet, this Article has been twisted, misinterpreted, and effectively eliminated moral discussions rooted in religion from public discourse. Having gone overboard on the concept of “establishment”, Americans are free interject their own morality into all aspects of the law, government and public conversation EXCEPT for morality based in religion.
But, that has now created a much larger problem. Morality in America was anchored to Christianity from inception. Although the Constitution clearly did not allow for the government to establish a State religion, there is no doubt that our laws were based on that moral foundation. As the government has violated the second part of the clause by prohibiting the free exercise of religion, our laws now have no anchor in an agreed upon and established moral system of Christianity.
So, what is the anchor for our government in establishing laws rooted in morality when Christianity has been barred from the discussion? Where are the lines drawn and who draws the lines?
The slippery slope of where the lines are drawn can be clearly seen in the inability of our government to draw a line on allowed actions anywhere. Because in doing so, there is always an argument to move the line to an even lower moral standard. In fact, there no longer is an agreed upon moral standard because there is no longer an anchor to our morality like Christianity. How can a lawmaker justify homosexual marriage and at the same time take a moral stance against polygamy? How can a lawmaker take a moral stance in favor of a transgender’s choosing the locker room and bathroom they feel like, and take a stand against bathrooms and locker rooms being open to all people regardless of gender? They can’t, because there is no moral anchor for their stance.
So, where does this slippery slope end? Many have made the argument, for example, that homosexuality occurs in nature so it’s morally just. So, their moral anchor is the laws of nature, right? Well, murder, and rape, and theft occur in nature as well. Do those actions deserve equal standing? In fact, the survival of the strongest and fittest is at the root of the law of nature, so aren’t our manmade laws discriminating against the natural rights of the strongest and fittest when their natural dominance is subverted in law?
Once we have severed our morality from an agreed upon and accepted anchor, there is no bottom. There is no logical stopping point any longer, which means the final solution is NO laws. Since religion and morality are rules which we have all accepted to separate us from the animals, the only real solution is to operate as animals. Is that what we want?